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COVID Vaccine Mandate Set For Eligible Amherst-Pelham Students

A vaccine for COVID-19 being prepared.
Alison Montemagni / Baystate Medical Center
The Republican / masslive.com
A vaccine for COVID-19 being prepared.

The Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee has set December 1 as the deadline for eligible students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Officials said they believe Amherst is the first district in Massachusetts to impose a mandate for students.

School committee member Peter Demling criticized Massachusetts education officials, as well as Governor Charlie Baker, for not taking statewide action.

"I know they're not health professionals but it's their job to lead. It's their job to look after the safety of our children and our staff, but they're not doing it. And they're leaving it to local authorities," Demling said.

Earlier this month, the Amherst Board of Health voted to include fully approved COVID-19 vaccines to the list of required shots for school students.

The mandate includes an exemption for "medical or religious" reasons and only covers "vaccines that have received full FDA approval." While emergency approval allows the Pfizer vaccine to be given to children as young as 12, full approval has only been granted for people 16 and older. Neither the Moderna nor Johnson & Johnson vaccines have yet received full FDA approval.

The December 1 deadline covers all required vaccines. Superintendent Michael Morris said the pandemic has caused some families to fall behind on shots against other diseases.

Sam Hudzik contributed.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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